Red Storm lose Pride fight

St. John’s couldn’t overcome an early run from Hofstra en route to their sixth straight loss on March 22.

It was a tight battle between the two New York rivals, but when No. 8/6 Hofstra went out to a 6-0 halftime lead it was too much for the young Johnnies squad to come back. Late goals added by Kieran McArdle and Joe Granata weren’t enough as the Storm fell 8-5.

The Red Storm ended the third quarter strong with a 3-0 run after Hofstra extended its lead to 7-0. They were led by two goals by Ran Fitzgerald, his fifth and sixth of the season, and Brandon Ayers, his third of the season.

“We’re very capable of standing toe to toe with the best teams in the country,” said head coach Jason Miller. “But in order to beat these guys when you have opportunities you have to finish them.”

Sophomore goalie Jeff Lowman was out-dueled by his childhood friend and Hofstra goalie Andrew Gvozden. The goalies were both strong during the game. Lowman had six saves, while Gvozden had 11 before being pulled in the fourfor Robert Bellairs.

The first half of the game was again a story of not being able to score for St. John’s. They went scoreless on 15 shots and had three man up opportunities during that time.

One of the biggest plays of the game happened in the second quarter when freshman Ryan Fitzgerald was called with an illegal body check to the head penalty. Just 23 seconds later Jay Card scored one of his two goals on the man up opportunity for the Pride.

It was a very competitive first quarter where St. John’s held Hofstra to only two goals by Ian Braddish and Kevin Ford. But seven seconds into the second quarter the Pride came right out of the faceoff with a goal by Stephan Bentz to give Hofstra a 3-0 lead. St. John’s won the turnover margin 14-19, shots 33-27, ground balls 22-21 and were 17-21 on clears.

“If we had finished a couple of early opportunities it probably would have looked like a much different game,” said Miller. “We had good opportunities early that we didn’t finish.”

Sophomore Dillon Ayers was named to the Big East Honor Roll after games against Stony Brook and Vermont.

Ayers led the team with 10 ground balls and causing five turnovers. The award marks the second time that Ayers has been on the Honor Roll, his first coming last year in a performance against Providence.

There is no rest for St. John’s (1-6) as their next game is back at home on March 26 against Sacred Heart at DaSilva Memorial Field.